Nearly 100% of Southern Sudanese voters in Ethiopia choose secessionJanuary 18th, 2011
Vote counting in Ethiopia for on South Sudanís independence referendum ended on Sunday with initial results overwhelmingly in favor of separation from the north, the Government of South Sudan office in Addis Ababa said on Monday.
The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) liaison office said that 98.4 % of the total voters have voted in favor of secession.
"A total of 7,253 people cast their votes in three polling stations including one in the capital, Addis Ababa" GOSS deputy head of mission David Dang told Sudan Tribune. He added that 7,137 picked separation vote, while 116 voted for unity.
The vote counting was done by the international organization for migration (IOM) before international observersí missions and Ethiopian as well as GOSS officials.
International observersí missions of Carter Center, AU and EU were deployed in Ethiopia, following the referendum process from day one.
The observer groupsí said that the referendum process went very well and met international standards.
The votes of the southern Sudanese gathered from refugee camps will be transported to Addis Ababa and then will be flown to Juba in January 18 from where the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) will have two weeks to look at them before the result is announced.
GOSS official David Dang conveyed message of appreciation to Sudanese people and to all parties which have supported the referendum.
"I am impressed and proud of the Sudanese community here in Ethiopia for turning out in huge numbers" he said in an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune "we have waited for this event to happen for decades since 1956", Sudan became independent from Anglo-Egyptian rule.
"We are very thankful for the Ethiopian government for hosting and creating the ground for the south Sudanese refugees to vote by providing security at all polling stations" said the GOSS official.
"I also would like to appreciate the African Union and the UN for supporting the process of the referendum."
Vote outcome in Ethiopia, UK and some parts of Southern Sudan seems to indicate that Sudan South is certain to break away from north and become Africaís newest state Ė the first since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.
The referendum was a key component of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of north-south civil war. --ST